Smart Glass Benefits: Types, Cost, Pros and Cons

To cover this interesting topic properly, we will discuss the types, their cost, and the pros and some smart glass benefits.

It wasn’t long ago when we thought of this type of technology as science fiction. Now, such a window exists, and smart glass is becoming more common worldwide.

Smart glass benefits.

What is Smart Glass?

Smart glass, also known as switchable glass, possesses light transmission properties that can be altered by applying light, heat, or voltage.

The more common types of smart glass use a small amount of electricity to transform between transparent and translucent.

Electronically tintable glass, when activated, will change the tint of the glass by using electricity to control microscopic particles within it. This enables the glass to block out some or all wavelengths of light effectively.

With just the touch of a button or a gesture or a flip of a switch on your phone, you can instantly change the tint of smart glass to keep out harsh sunlight and outside heat.

Switchable windows also block infrared and UV rays, thus making your interior safer, cooler, and more enjoyable.

Types of Smart Glass

Because of its light-blocking abilities and other features, smart glass is usually installed as smart or switchable windows in offices, homes, and even cars.

Smart windows make lighting and temperature control much easier and more effective when installed in a building.

With the power to control the opacity of your windows electronically, privacy and security can also be optimized on demand.

Smart glass comes in various forms, but what distinguishes one is the technology used in creating it.

The three most popular switchable glass technologies are suspended-particle, electrochromic, and polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal glass.

Installing any of these three smart glass types will turn your building into one that can adapt to any climate.

Electrochromic windows

This type of switchable window uses electricity to change the glass’s light transmission and heat transference properties. With this, you’ll have greater control over how much light and heat can get into your building.

A burst of electricity is required before an electrochromic window can change its opacity. But no electricity is needed to maintain the opacity you have set the window.

An electrochromic window can become fully and evenly tinted in less than three minutes, regardless of size. Also, you can still see clearly from an electrochromic switchable glass even when fully tinted.

Suspended-particle windows

Suspended-particle glass, referred to as SPDs, involves installing a thin film laminate on any glass to turn it into a switchable window. The laminate can be installed by sandwiching it between two glass or plastic plates.

This thin film laminate will have suspended a liquid with rod-shaped nano-scale particles. These suspended particles will be randomly organized without an electrical charge, blocking the light.

When electricity is applied to the glass, the suspended particles will immediately align to let light pass through. In this form, the glass cannot block light but will absorb it to remove harmful UV rays.

How much voltage is applied to an SPD will influence the alignment of the suspended particles, thus giving you the ability to regulate the glass tint and how much light is let in.

So think of the suspended particles as window blinds and electricity as how you control the opening and closing of the blinds.

You can opt for a manual or automatic control to precisely regulate how much light, heat, and glare can come in through an installed SPD smart window.

Polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal glass

Polymer-dispersed liquid-crystal windows, also known as PDLCs, feature dissolved or dispersed liquid crystals in a liquid polymer that has been cured or solidified.

When the polymer changes from a liquid to a solid, the liquid crystals within the solid polymer become incompatible, forming droplets inside the polymer.

How the polymer was cured will influence the size of the droplets and, thus, how the smart window operates.

The liquid polymer and crystals are usually sandwiched between two glass planes.

There’ll also be a tinny layer of clear conductive material, which will serve as a capacitor.

When no electricity is applied to the glass, the liquid crystals will be randomly arranged, resulting in light being unable to pass through the window.

An SPD window will have a “milky white” translucent appearance without an electrical charge.

Immediately voltage is applied, the liquid crystals will align to allow light to pass through with minimal scattering, giving the glass a transparent appearance.

How transparent the glass appears can be controlled by regulating the voltage applied to the glass.

The more voltage added, the more the crystals will be aligned, resulting in less light scattering and a more transparent window.

How much does smart glass cost?

As you can see, more than one option is available when buying switchable glass.

Pick the right one, and it will make a great deal of difference in how you enjoy your office space or home.

With smart windows installed all over your building, you’ll be better able to keep out unwanted glare and solar heat.

It can also help minimize heating and cooling loss. But because of the unique features of switchable glass, they can be quite pricey to purchase and install.

A smart window can cost as much as 50% more than a dumb window. But then again, you are paying for greater quality and diverse features.

The price of switchable glass will typically vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, with some costing anywhere between $50 and $100 per square foot and others costing as much as $199 or higher for a full-size sheet of 3.28 by 3.28 feet.

But think of it this way: With smart windows, you’ll never again have to spend another penny on blinds. It can also save up to 20% on your monthly energy bills.

Get a Wi-Fi-connected smart glass with environmental sensors. You’ll get a smart window that can read the weather, room occupancy, and sunlight and use that information to adjust itself to allow in more or less solar heat and light when needed. It’s a great investment.

Smart Glass Benefits and Cons

The transparency or translucency of a smart or switchable window is typically controlled with the help of a switch or button.

Some even come with apps that allow you to control the smart window from anywhere with a phone or other smart device.

The ability to regulate the tint on smart glass and how much heat and light it lets in is thanks to the technology integrated into it, be it an electrochromic, thermochromic, suspended particle, or liquid crystal technology.

Because of their cost, most large offices and big businesses install smart glass.

Homeowners who appreciate the technology and can afford it also install it. But smart glass application isn’t limited to buildings as certain car manufacturers have started adding them to vehicles as windows and sunroofs.

The good news is that with more companies manufacturing smart glass and better ways being discovered to create it, the price of smart glass is gradually falling.

In time, smart glass will no longer be considered a luxury item but something anyone can afford.

Also, thanks to the innovation of self-adhesive switchable glass, upgrading the windows you already have installed with smart glass technology is now cost-effective.

This means you don’t have to replace your current windows. All you need to do is add the self-adhesive switchable glass to them like a sticker; voila, you’ve turned your regular windows into fully functional smart windows.

To help you decide if smart glass is for you, let’s look at some pros and cons of this innovative technology.

  • Easy use and maintenance: With smart windows, you don’t have to worry about pulling blinds or curtains. With the push of a button, you can get all the privacy or natural light you need. Also, since there’s no need for blinds or curtains, you don’t have to worry about the effort and cost of cleaning and replacing them. Simply put, with switchable glass, there’s a lot less cleaning and maintenance involved.
  • Saves money on cooling and heating: Unlike regular windows that let in sunlight and all the heat that comes with it, smart windows let in the light but greatly minimize the heat. This leaves you with a cool interior that you’ll spend less running the air-conditioning to keep cool.
  • Blocks UV rays: UV rays in moderation can be good. Too much of it, though, can harm your health and property. Installing smart windows will keep out the harmful UV rays that bleach your furniture and do you harm while still allowing you to enjoy brilliant natural lighting within your building. You can enjoy a smart window’s UV-blocking benefits regardless of whether the smart window is translucent or transparent.
  • Quick and precise control of light: Unlike regular windows that offer little control over how much natural light you can let in, switchable windows give you perfect control. It’s almost like having your dimmer switch for the sun.
  • High durability: Smart glass is built to last so you can enjoy it for decades without any worries. Also, breaks or worn-out parts are less likely because the window has no moving parts.
  • Increased privacy: You can enjoy greater privacy within your building without losing your view.

If you need one more reason why smart windows make for a great investment, they look good. They’ll give your building a more modern aesthetic, which is very satisfying.

The only downside of smart glass is that they are still quite pricey, especially if buying a lot for a large project.

Fortunately, you can cut costs and still enjoy many benefits of smart glass by opting for self-adhesive switchable glass.


As smart glass becomes more common in the marketplace, prices will become more competitive.

It’s cleaner, more efficient, and better to look at than blinds or shades. However, curtains or drapes help to insulate your window area from the cold.

So, it may be something that could be a new standard one day in all homes and businesses.

Do you prefer this way to create privacy with your windows or stick to blinds and shades?